The big debate: Macros v. Calories v. Quality – Which is right?

by Apr 20, 2018Nutrition0 comments

Calories always matter but they are not all that matter the other items in the heading are keys to success when it comes to weight loss or weight control, body composition and achieving your sporting or activity goals. I’ll discuss them each and provide a hierarchy and reasoning as to why that hierarchy is appropriate. The quality of our diets is paramount to giving our body the chance to achieve those goals we set for ourselves. Calories in and calories out is far too simplistic an approach, it’s a much more nuanced subject than that, because, the human body is a much more complex machine than a simple conveyor belt.

There is debate around the fact that if you get your daily calories smack bang on the numbers then you can eat whatever you like within the 3 macronutrients you are ingesting. This is simplistic thinking and simply doesn’t allow for the quality of the food you are eating to be a factor when of course we know for good health and optimal vitality it isn’t. If you follow this logic you would be able to eat crap and a cherry on top and be able to do all the things you want to at work, home at the gym wherever you spend your time – this just can’t be true when the calories making up a Snickers bar carry far fewer nutrients that the calories making up a fruit salad.

Of course the quality of the food we eat is important, but we can still over eat healthy food so the amount needs to be appropriate. In this sense the definition of quality is eating only natural, whole and unprocessed foods – with an avoidance of refined products. The quality of our food is determined by the nutrient density. The vitamins and minerals and secondary nutrients we are able to extract from these foods is paramount to optimal health. They contain resistant starch and fibre. These are all important to health and human function. If we weren’t to eat these quality foods regularly we may down grade or lose the ability to partition foods for the job they were intended in the body. Foods of a lower quality will not allow our body to auto regulate its self and I refer you to the picture below for this point. If you were to eat a bag of chips on the left you may well get to the bottom of the bag and finish them. They are highly processed and full of fat. The 18 apples on the right are of an equivalent caloric value. I challenge anyone to eat all 18 apples in one sitting. This would be a tough task for anyone – and yet the amount of calories you get is very similar. Your body’s ability to SELF REGULATE comes down to the quality of food we eat. The more natural whole and unprocessed it is the better we can auto regulate thereby innately knowing when to stop.



Macros do matter also. It is not just about the number but the mix of your macros that will impact your health outcomes with regard to weight management. We know protein keeps us fuller for longer. If we eat enough protein as a part of our overall diet we are going to be eating less between meals and are more likely to hit our daily energy requirements more accurately.
The different metabolic activities that occur as a results of eating and certain split of macros will determine how soon we eat next and out overall needs for the day. So yes macros are important too.

In Summary:
Get the quality right and you are on the auto regulation path. Get the total calories right and you are within your daily personal needs and get the split of the 3 macros right and you have it all nailed!!!

If you’d like help with these contact Rich today. He is using a carb appropriate approach to nutrition which means you get a customised plan based on your individual needs – which over time can be adjusted as your body changes shape and body composition changes along with that.
Contact Rich today on 021777417.

Creds. to Cliff Harvey for the inspiration of this post….

Browse by Category

Interested to know more?